16 best action movies on Netflix to keep you on the edge of your sofa
Ready to spice up your Netflix queue with some full-throttle action?
Whether you’re a fan of science fiction or secret intelligence, car chases or rooftop combat, Neo or Indiana, super pigs or James Bond, there’s an action movie for every kind of adrenaline seeker on Netflix. The streaming service has classics as well as fresh installments — plus a smattering of original projects all their own. With so much streaming, it can be an overwhelming task to choose an adventure.
But kick back and try to relax. We’ve picked the 16 best action movies on Netflix streaming now just for you. (And if you’re looking for the best thrillers on Netflix, we can help you there too.)
Craving a smart superhero thriller with kickass action sequences? The Old Guard will satisfy your hunger. Led by a fierce Charlize Theron, the plot zooms in on a group of mercenaries who have protected the world for centuries due to their immortality. However, after their special powers are discovered, they must put a stop to those who want to take advantage of them.
Starring Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Luke Evans, Cillian Murphy, and more, Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire delivers black comedy and solid action in an unceasing torrent of “WHAT IS GOING ON?!” Fun, ridiculous, and phenomenally short — just 85 minutes! — Free Fire is a delectable action snack.
Casino Royale is the best Bond on Netflix. It has Daniel Craig, in his first appearance as the secret agent, making it his mission to bankrupt a terrorist in a poker game. The film has a heavier focus on character instead of gadgets — and it works.
This Netflix adventure has Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garret Hedlund, and Pedro Pascal coming together as a group of former Special Forces who plan an elaborate heist in South America. But after things get out of hand, their survival skills are put to the ultimate test. Putting a talented cast in a tension-filled scenario, Triple Frontier is the type of gritty thriller that’s hard to turn away from.
Oh, the ludicrous movie joy of Sin City. Based on Frank Miller’s comics of the same name, this neo-noir anthology sports Miller, Robert Rodriguez, and Quentin Tarantino as directors. It’s a breakneck film mash-up of violence, heartbreak, and Bruce Willis being cool as hell that’s simply one of a kind. (Yeah, its sequel Sin City: A Dame to Kill For isn’t a great film.)
From Venom director Ruben Fleischer, Zombieland is the kind of fearless fun zombie flicks should always aim for.
Starring Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin as unlikely allies in a new fight against the undead, this 2009 hit follows a fairly traditional road-trip-through-the-apocalypse narrative. Still, its snappy dialogue, punchy visuals, and quick pacing make it interminably entertaining. I mean you’ve got the very quotable “Rules for Surviving Zombieland” monologue; that totally punk-rock romance between Eisenberg’s “Columbus” and Stone’s “Wichita”; plus one extremely relatable quest to find the last Twinkies in existence. What’s not to love?
It’s good, clean disgusting fun with enough heart to make all that goop and guts more palatable for less horror-inclined audiences. Seriously, this one’s good for the whole 18+ family. And now it has a sequel.
True fans of martial arts movies know the unprecedented influence of Ip Man. In this biographical movie, Donnie Yen embodies the martial arts master for a captivating exploration of philosophy, power, and honor. If you love this movie, check out the entire trilogy on Netflix.
Wheelman is a B-movie that makes the most of its resources, offering up a clear vision and a fast-paced ride. It tells of a bank robbery getaway driver (Jeremy Rush) who, after being double-crossed, must uncover his betrayer — and thankfully, it puts every second of its 82-minute runtime to use.
Forget the 2012 remake; we’re talking about the original here. Loosely inspired by Philip K. Dick’s “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale,” Paul Verhoeven’s Total Recall centers on an ordinary construction worker, Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) who buys a memory implant of a secret agent with a mission on Mars, and discovers in the process that he actually is a secret agent with a mission on Mars.
Or…is he? Total Recall has great fun playing with questions of identity and reality while also serving up all bombastic action, sly humor, and one of Schwarzenegger’s most memorable performances. — Angie Han, Deputy Entertainment Editor
How to watch:.
If you somehow still haven’t watched Scott Pilgrim vs. the Worldten years after its release, what are you doing? Head over to Netflix now!
This buzzy action-comedy has the titular 22-year-old musician (Michael Cera) falling for the mysterious Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). The problem? In order to date her, he must first defeat her seven evil exes.
Enter the Dragon has the distinction of being Bruce Lee’s final film. Released in 1973, the same year as the martial arts legend’s tragic death at the age of 32, the movie is regarded as not just one of Lee’s best films but also just the greatest in martial arts cinema as a whole.
The story follows Lee on a quest for vengeance as he seeks out the drug dealer who killed his sister. The hunt eventually leads him to a high-stakes kung fu tournament set on the iron-handed drug dealer’s private island. There are too many iconic moments in Enter the Dragon for us to touch on here, but needless to say it’s a canonical work for the martial arts genre and an absolute must-see. —Adam Rosenberg, Senior Entertainment Reporter & Weekend Editor
There are plenty of good reasons to watch Rush, including the charismatic performances by Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl as rival Formula One drivers, the dramatic story beats pulled from actual history, and the fabulous sets and costumes steeped in ’70s style (especially everything Olivia Wilde’s character wears). But the best reason of all are the racing scenes, which director Ron Howard imbues with such a propulsive thrill that you may find yourself making race car noises (vroom, vroom) for hours afterward, like a little kid tearing into a new box of Hot Wheels on Christmas morning. Uh, not that I’d know from personal experience or anything. — A.H.
Another Bong Joon-ho action film with Tilda Swinton playing the living worst, Okjafollows Mija (Ahn Seo-hyun), a young farmer who will stop at nothing to rescue her beloved super pig Okja from slaughter. With the help of the Animal Liberation Front, Mija embarks on a journey to bring Okja home after he’s taken by the evil Mirando Corporation. The result is as sweet as it is suspenseful.
Avengement is the type of action movie you watch for the action. It follows a prisoner (Scott Adkins) who, in an act of revenge, attempts to hold the people at a private bar hostage. While this story is standard, Adkins’ fierce performance mixed with a growing intensity builds a solid B-level action flick.